Kathmandu ranks as one of world’s most polluted cities

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s capital Kathmandu has been ranked as one of the world’s worst polluted cities in terms of air quality.

Out of the world’s 209 cities, the air quality in Kathmandu is 7th worst, according to a report of Serbia-based research company Numbeo, which conducted the research on air quality of world’s major cities and released its 2017 report this week.

According to Numbeo’s ‘Pollution Index 2017’ Kathmandu performed even worse than Beijing of China and New Delhi of India.

Kathmandu’s air pollution index is 95.73, which is the third worst in South Asia.

The report states the biggest weight in measuring pollution index was given to air quality and then to water pollution/accessibility, the two main pollution factors.

According to Numbeo’s Pollution Index 2017, Kabul, Afghanistan is the most polluted city, followed by Accra, Ghana and Tetovo, Macedonia. On the other hand, the least polluted city in the ranking is Trondheim, Norway, followed by Wellington, New Zealand and Reykjavik, Iceland.

Health experts said air pollution is one of the main causes of cancer and respiratory diseases in Nepal.

Secretary at Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST Dr Buddhi Ratna Khadka said 40,000 people suffer from cancer every year in Nepal, while 10,000 cancer patients die annually due mainly to air pollution.

Dr Khem Bahadur Karki, director at the Nepal Health Research Council, said there will be public health emergency in the next 2-4 years if the current level of pollution continues unchecked.

Bhupesh Adhikari, senior air quality specialist of International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) described the present air pollution level in Kathmandu as an alarming one and asked the concerned agencies to take immediate measures to mitigate the air pollution level for human health.

Asked about the government’s response, health Minister Gagan Thapa said the government will take necessary measures soon to mitigate the problem. – Bernama

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